Pregnancy can put significant stress on the body, particularly the neck, shoulders, low back, legs and feet. A prenatal massage is an excellent way to help expectant mothers maintain a sense of well-being.
Prenatal massage is performed with a focus on the safety and comfort of the expectant mother. A soothing and therapeutic approach is taken to relieve the discomforts associated with pregnancy, help the client relax and reduce fatigue. Many of our clients tell us that the only time they get any sleep is during their massage!
Using Swedish massage as a base, prenatal massage may include deep tissue work to the neck and shoulders, lymphatic drainage to relieve swelling in the hands and feet, face and scalp massage to relieve headache, and foot massage. If indicated and appropriate, breast massage may be included. Abdominal massage may be performed on low risk pregnancies after the first trimester. Like all our treatments, we will tailor the massage to best suit your needs.
Recommended for: Clients experiencing a safe, uneventful pregnancy, clients with some complications who have the consent of their physician, clients dealing with stress and anxiety, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, tender breasts. Not recommended for: Clients with conditions that put them at a high risk for miscarriage or severe health complications.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Relieves muscle and joint pain caused by changes to the body
Soothes stress and anxiety
Reduces swelling in the face, hands and feet
Relieves leg cramps
Treats carpal tunnel syndrome brought on by swelling in the arms and hands
Alleviates foot and ankle pain caused by increased weight
Can help relieve heart burn
Relieves breast tenderness and swelling
Positioning the Pregnant Client
During the first trimester, low risk clients can often still be treated on their stomachs. Pillows under the shoulders help relieve pressure on tender breasts, and pillowing under the right hip prevent excess pressure being placed on the abdominal vena cavae.
The side lying position is used starting in the second trimester, or for clients in the first trimester who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, or who are uncomfortable lying on their stomachs. A pillow is placed under the head, between the knees and along the chest for support. Discreet draping is used to ensure the comfort of the client.
The semi-seated position is used to address the head and neck. The client lies on their back, comfortably propped up on pillows, with pillowing under the right hip to prevent pressure being placed on the inferior vena cava. The feet and legs are elevated to help relieve swelling.
Seated positioning is used for larger clients, or clients who are uncomfortable getting up on the massage table. The client sits on a stool and leans against the massage table while securely and comfortably cushioned and discreetly draped.
The Body Cushion system allows the pregnant client to lie comfortably on their stomach well into the second trimester. Padded bolsters support the chest, low back and ankles, while cutouts allow the breasts and stomach to rest comfortably.
The Body Cushion is not recommended for clients experiencing a higher risk pregnancy.
The Body Cushion is also great for non-pregnant clients who have larger breasts, low back pain or who are uncomfortable lying on their stomach. Ask your therapist if the Body Cushion is right for you.
Prenatal Massage Contraindications
Clients who are experiencing certain conditions, or who are at a high risk for miscarriage may not be good candidates for massage. Some conditions are absolutely contraindicated, and some may be treated with modifications made to the treatment plan. Always check with your prenatal health care practitioner before embarking on a program of massage therapy. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, massage is not advised. Please consult your physician:
Early labour or threat of miscarriage
Dysfunctions of the placenta or cervix
Severe or continual abdominal pains
Continual low back pain not relieved by changes in position
Severe nausea and vomiting
Severe headache lasting longer than 3 days
Leakage of amniotic fluid
Pre-eclampsia or eclampsia
Proceed with Caution
Clients who are experiencing the following complications may proceed with massage, under the direct supervision of their primary health care practitioner. Please advise your therapist so they may modify the treatment for your safety. These situations must be monitored closely; if complications arise, contact your physician immediately.